Everyday anger over something simple

Sorry to bother you all with something so mundane after all these big events. But life goes on after all. There’s this article in the dutch press today which covers a provincial candidate for the PVV (the party of Geert Wilders). He’s a cop (or maybe ex-cop, the article doesn’t say) that in 2003 got a fine for beating a suspect that was already in handcuffs. But it’s not that fact that bothers me enough to blog about it. It’s the explanation by the PVV member of national parliament, himself a long-time ex-cop, charged with helping to select the candidates:

MP André Elissen, who helped select the candidates, calls it “a small incident“. “In the current day and age, this would be handled with a stern talking to. In that time, a police officer wasn’t allowed to do anything.

Never mind these people’s opinions. They might be fine upstanding citizens (although I’m guessing we probably disagree on some pretty fundamental issues). I just mostly wonder if it’s true what’s said here. Are we really at the point where dutch cops can beat suspects in handcuffs and risk nothing but maybe a stern talking to? So it’s like what? Getting donuts for yourself only? Coming to work late? Not properly filling out some form? Leaving the headlights on again?

16 thoughts on “Everyday anger over something simple”

  1. It’s typical for the view an increasing number of people have of police: a utility that you demand and order around when you need it. Of course it is unimaginable to be object of police scrutiny (never mind brutality) oneself – people beaten by police apparently are a different type of people, and therefore of no consequence.

    It’s a sad state of affairs, indeed.

  2. Whats really odd is that its the complete opposite argument normally used when comparing police work then to now. Normally people say that was back then, before the time of having to follow procedure, getting sued, and being PC.
    In the end, the MP will say anything to justify his actions.

  3. We were always at that point. 50,40,30,20,10 years ago and today also was and is it possible that police-officers mistreat you in the safety of their bureau.
    New is that some openly speak about it and that people agree to it.
    In my opinion the netherlands drifts away from the declaration of humanrights.

  4. In a way Andre Elissen either claims the current law allows beating an already handcuffed suspect, or that the current law is apocryphical (in which case one wonders what he is doing in politics, why steer lawmaking if they wont be applied)

    quite disturbing

  5. A grim prediction: a lot more cops are going to find themselves targeted with violence if this is how it’s “normal” to treat suspects in handcuffs.

  6. to fix the political unbalance – being the one cause for increased violence from both sides, police AND the public – requires a leftwing answer to the immense successful right-wing pvv-vvd alliance.

    status quo is that the left side of the political spectrum still has no clue as to how to formulate an appropraite pvv answer.

    months before the election the social party lost their leader due to internal turmoil.

    the new gl-pvda-sp initiative looks promising but is already crippled by the poorly choosen “grachtengordel” (salon socialist) location and poorly formulated messages.

    we need an angry, underpaid, abused, intelligent, unemployed leader to stand up. to ** verbally ** kick the shit out of these xenophobes.

  7. I imagine it’s the 1930s revisited (in Germany), and the 1940-45s in Holland. No doubt that in both countries, there were a number of góód policemen at the time. But they were outnumbered by those who fancied power and abuse above all, rücksichtslos. At the same time, the latter’s culture and mentality received backing in parliaments and s.c. governments in that war era.

    So didn’t we learn anything from history?
    Yes we did.
    That’s why you are here, with this blogpost. Why Rob Zijlstra seems to want to add a bit more than just his two cents. It’s why the PVV mainly got the votes of the ignorant, illiterate, unintelligent, greedy few that are unable to look over their own shadow and backyards, let alone human history and its lessons/warnings would mean anything to them.

    In that sense: let’s praise this day. January 21st 2011, the day that marks a huge demonstration of Dutch students and university professors alike, united against even more cuts in the budgets of individual students as well as Dutch universities.

    You’re right, Rop: Wilders’ PVV and its henchmen is an outright threat to humanity and humane standards, in my opinion. Full of lies, and no way they can cover their ill intententions by their relatively high focus on animal welfare (animal cops, Dion Graus).

    Keep up the good work.
    And don’t hesitate to call in for help if you want some, in view of this disturbing situation with the Yanks.

    Take care.

  8. Good to know you’ve got energy to spare on relatively smaller issues, although I agree with you, that from the point of view of a suspect, it may not even matter much whether you’re in handcuffs being hit, bullied and harassed by a Dutch cop with PVV sympathies–or being bullied and harassed by the Yanks.

    It’s perhaps mostly a matter of civilisation, which is why both cases matter to me: We’re ending up with a rogue culture, of relative lawlessness, which is the result of democracy, far from serving equality, serving money and power itself.

    Bless you for bringing this up today. Love.

  9. Hey,

    What I would like to add is that I don’t believe this is a small matter. Of course beating a man in handcuffs is bad, but for me, the bigger problem is the complete minimisation of the importance of this fact by a politician. It creates a rift between what an ordinary member is punished for, according to law, and a politician, or soon to be politician, who is in some ways above that law.

    And again, this rift is only a symptom of a much graver cause. What worries me is that openly dismissing of an event like beating a man in cuffs, is possible these days. The disinterest and cynicism amongst common people is bigger than ever. Amongst the majority of society there is no longer a believe in fighting for a just cause, or not a clear way of formulating a response to what seems to be an inevitable, inescapable truth. Politicians lie, and we are incapable of fighting this big apparatus that seems to have it’s own continuation of power as it’s first interest, in stead of being a representative of the people, and in a way being an extention of them.

    What I believe is that a clear solution to this problem has to be found. Cynicism has to be fought, people have to be able to believe that change is possible and playing down a problem is in this respect part of the problem. And I also believe that the media in this respect might feel powerless as well. By being confronted with a politician that plays down and oversimplifies problems that form an inconvenient truth to him, media are progressively less able to find ways to reveal underlying truths. The system is becoming hermetically closed to unwanted access, and the gatekeeper, no longer working in the common interest but only his own, decides who is allowed to enter. And on another level the media is working in a similar manner, being a gatekeeper of information, working according to mechanisms invisible to the common man.

    Since knowledge is power but essential knowledge for power is withheld, the feeling of powerlessness is increasing. A bit like fighting an enemy you know you can not win from. In a way, we are that man in handcuffs being beaten over and over again, with a grimacing politician standing over us, telling us we shouldn’t bitch and moan about it.


  10. Dag Rop,
    Heb je weleens overwogen jouw leven en visie op internet op te (laten) schrijven voor een publicatie in boekvorm? Als je ook maar enigszins geïnteresseerd bent, hoor ik graag van je.

  11. In the US our cops are the same way, in some instances. Many become cops because they relish power–those are the bullies. Our Rodney King incident is a great example of that.

  12. Remember the “blue t-shirt” incident at the “Freiheit statt Angst” manifestation in Berlin 2009. As mentioned, there was a video made by a person who was nearby to what happened. There was the policeman hitting a manifestation attendant hardly into his face [followed by further violence]. The man landed in hispital.

    Listen. first days after that – due to the video spreading help by the Chaos Computer Club – the President of the Berlin Police (Dieter Glietsch) was forced by the media focus to promising that policemen (and -women) will have to wear their names on their uniforms from 2011 on.

    The policeman was not fired. Glietsch only hinted at the fact that this policeman was now [for how long, I have no idea] away from the streets (at a police table somewhere). You can cause the same harm at both.

    So: a) policeman still in charge. b) names on the uniforms from 2011 in berlin? well, i’d have noticed a name on a uniform, forget it. it’s how you calm media after such an incident, nothing else.

    It’s unbelievable what is happening in europe these days.

    On a personal side note. Do you have time for a “twitter roundtable”? Spokeperson overslept (officially “busy with Egypt”) and there are some questions from ppl.

    we think WL might need like 4 spokespeople at least but anyway – a second for a visit of roundtable on twitter? The hashtag is #wlquest and we sampled some questions on

    (some questions are directed to current spokesperson, some are more ‘in general’)

  13. That kind of things happens a lot in the netherlands for a long time, even torturing people is no problem and is refused to be investigated. That police system is corrupted from top to bottom, and they find it strange people run for there lives when they see police. Well it is running for your live and wallet or beating the shit out of them to safe your self. Such system :-s

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